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Charles Howell DQ is a reminder to us all


Moecat

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For any golfer using an adjustable driver, an incident over the weekend is well worth a good look.

 

Charles Howell III was disqualified from the Wyndham Championship before the start of the third round on Saturday for using a non-conforming driver. But the reason why the driver was declared non-conforming is a new one.

 

Howell began the week using a new SLDR driver from TaylorMade. Golfers can adjust the SLDR by moving a small weight along a track that runs from the heel to the toe along the sole. Next to that track is a small weight port covered by a cap. The cap can be removed if the golfer wants to switch in a lighter or heavier weight.

 

While Howell was warming up on the range before the second round on Friday, that cap somehow came off. Howell checked with company officials, who told him that wouldn't affect the club's performance, so he used the driver minus the cap and finished the round tied for 10th place.

 

On Saturday, however, rules officials told Howell that the missing cap made the driver non-conforming – and because he had used it on Friday, he was disqualified.

 

''Prior to teeing off, I spoke to the guys at TaylorMade about the toe-cap coming off to be sure that it wouldn't impact the performance of the club. I was assured it would not affect the club's performance,'' Howell said. ''The idea that the club would no longer be conforming, because of the missing toe-cap, never entered my mind.''

 

Under the rules, if the cap had come off during the round, Howell could have finished the round without penalty and then fixed the club before his next round. But because it happened before the round, he was out.

 

Discussions among some of my golf buddies raised two specific questions about the ruling:

 

1. Was the driver ruled non-conforming because officials thought the missing cap might provide a bit of an aerodynamic advantage?

 

2. Or was the driver ruled non-conforming because it was approved with the cap in place, but not without the cap?

 

The answer, basically, is both.

 

"TaylorMade has been making drivers with movable parts since 2004," said TaylorMade Public Relations Manager Dave Cordero. "What happened in the case of Charles Howell III's driver is very rare and we will make the necessary adjustments to ensure this does not happen again."

 

Adjustable drivers have been around for the better part of a decade now, and are more popular than ever. This is the first time I'm aware that this particular issue has arisen, but it is a lesson for every golfer using a club with any kind of movable part. This ruling is more than enough reason to check your gear before every round and make sure everything is just as it should be.

 

Approximately a dozen TaylorMade staff players have been using SLDR drivers in recent weeks, and Howell plans to use his this week at The Barclays as he begins the PGA Tour FedExCup playoffs.

 

"I put this driver in play two weeks ago and it is the best performing driver I've played," he said. "This driver will be back in play [this] week."

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Very rare my eye.

 

The forums are littered with people where the tin caps are popping out on them already.

 

Face it TM. It's a good driver but you rushed it to market to compete with the Optiforce and to try and stop Callaway from eating more of your market share this year. We both know it wasn't slated to be released until 2014 and you pushed it. See what pushing a product to market to fast does?

 

You've still got the cache as the #1 driver. Had you waited to release it until it was ready, people would have been picking it up in droves.

 

Further more, pay more attention to the construction of your product. First was the Stage 2 debacle which saw a massive portion of the shipment go null because of quality defects. Now SLDR gate. I know some consider any press as good press, but I can't imagine that people making the same "did it fly 17 yards when it came off?" joke isn't really going to help sales.

 

Sadly, this appears to have been an off year. I hope you come out blazing next year TM because I doubt Callaway and Nike are going to stop pushing and nothing is better for the golfer then OEM's pushing each other to do better.

I laught at your claims to fight a zombie apocalypse when most of you can't stand up to a Spider

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First was the Stage 2 debacle which saw a massive portion of the shipment go null because of quality defects.

 

 

What defects, exactly? This interests me personally because I have a Stage 2 Tour driver and haven't had any problems to date.

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This is entirely CH3's fault. I read, I have been looking but can not find it now, but when this first came out a couple of weeks ago I read where the USGA "thought" that the slider port or whatever could possibly give the club an aerodynamic advantage and said that they had to make a cover. I also read that the cover did not look like it would come off easy.

 

The fact that his club was altered and he did not check with the rules official to see what would happen. I knew what would happen. I read that it was non conforming with out the cover. He asked TMag if it effected performance, so why not ask the officials.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is entirely CH3's fault. I read, I have been looking but can not find it now, but when this first came out a couple of weeks ago I read where the USGA "thought" that the slider port or whatever could possibly give the club an aerodynamic advantage and said that they had to make a cover. I also read that the cover did not look like it would come off easy.

 

The fact that his club was altered and he did not check with the rules official to see what would happen. I knew what would happen. I read that it was non conforming with out the cover. He asked TMag if it effected performance, so why not ask the officials.

Well if you had read that and knew that then he should have done the same. After all he is making his living playing that equipment.I kinda thought the whole incident was BS until I read your post. Now I understand Thanks for the info

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  • 6 months later...

I never found a good answer to what TM did to fix the issue of the weight port, so I asked TM:

 

 

In the case of Charles Howell, after the swingweight was adjusted the toe cap was reapplied to his driver. The adhesive on the driver did not stick properly and fell off while he was practicing. There was no effect on the drivers performance so he proceeded to play with the toe cap off. Unfortunately, USGA rules state that you cannot have any open ports on the club head. This was obviously done unintentionally, but ultimately what caused his DQ.

 

Because of this instance, we started to put a screw in the toe cap to ensure this wouldn't happen again. Currently, we have fixed this issue with a press machine that secures the toe cap to the open port without the use of a screw.

 

So the reason the cap fell off to begin with was his club was tinkered with. This is fixed by Tour heads now having screws in that cap. For consumers, the problem is also fixed

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